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3 ways to let go of Resentments

By Peter Vredeveld at
3 ways to let go of Resentments

Not everyone wants to let go of their resentments. They do not want to forgive even if they know it is not a right thing to do. But, forgiveness is good! Not in a – heal the world kind of a way but in a selfish way!

Forgiveness and letting go of resentments helps people to connect with others in a genuine way. These are the major factors contributing to gather the feeling of happiness and contentment.

But how do you experience genuine forgiveness and stop feeling resentful? Because it’s one thing to know it intellectually but another to actually feel it. Like, in your bones.

A few months back, I started working and had to do lots of research as a part of my job. I had to work on a website related to Buddha and Buddhism, and for that I had to learn about how Buddha, his Enlightenment and how his teachings can change the way you think about life. Not only I learnt about Buddhist Art but also lots of new stuffs regarding the teachings and how they can change your life in a good way by applying them to your daily life. Similarly, I read and wrote a lot about how I felt which gradually took away my anger and I could really feel that it was going away!

But I was a long way from getting out my stress. There was always a thought if They hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be feeling these sort of things.

And it is indeed confusing – if you forgive or let go of those feelings, does it mean someone’s off the hook?

It’s as if one half of your soul or brain is saying “It’s cool with everything” and the other half is telling you, “Not on my watch mister!” And in a way, this is exactly what is happening.

So how did I overcome these conflicts within myself and started to forgive? I just flipped up my beliefs which made it seem difficult.

Here are three of my forgiveness “belief flippers” that have helped me not only let go of hurt feelings but deepen my sense of well-being to make a happy person out of me.

It is obvious, the bigger the hurt, the more challenging and difficult this gets. These ideas might help the thing you’re trying to let go of as they did help me in a big way.

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1. Your thoughts cause your feelings.

A few months ago during an intensely challenging personal as well as time as a student for me, a very good friend of mine told me she no longer wanted to be friends and stopped being in touch with me. It left me as hurt, and for a long time I saw her reaction as hurtful.

But then I realized two things:

Firstly, I was being supremely self-centered by not considering what it was like for her. Surely, I must have been at fault at some point which made her take the step.

And secondly, the real reason I was unhappy had nothing to do with her as it had everything to do with me. She hadn’t done anything to me, really, but my “I’m not good enough” radar was going off big time within me. This stress took its toll on me as I could only feel worse because of my own mistakes and fault as I gradually realized the wrong-doings from my part.

The reason my feelings were hurt were due to what I thought of myself deep down of myself righteousness. (I say “deep down” because not so deep down, I have always convinced myself that I was awesome).

If my sense of self-realization had been rock-solid, I would’ve easily seen her side of things. Yes, I would have missed her, but I wouldn’t have taken it personally and felt heartbroken.

Therefore, your feelings are the result of what you tell yourself about what happened. It’s the way you think which causes your pain.

Which in practical terms means you need to stop blaming others and look from other's point of view for how you feel.

2. The art of just noticing.

So if thinking is the cause of the hurtful feelings, you should think about changing your thoughts, right? Or at least figure out where they come from?

This certainly is a common belief. But it’s also, I believe, the one of the toughest ways. Here’s is a better and simpler option (as per my experience):

Instead of trying to think a different thought, like gratitude, or even forgiveness, just notice your thoughts without getting carried away with them.

Once I figured out I was the factor of creation of my own feelings, this is what I did. And guess what? As time passed, my sad feelings were gradually decreasing and my genuine love grew inside me. Not only for my friend, but for me too. Consequently, my sense of self worth has gotten stronger.

It's not that I don't feel bad anymore; I still do but knowing that it was "my bad" for my feelings, I hardly take them personally and all the hard feelings as gone.

3. Just think that there’s nothing to forgive.

After all these time, I’ve realized and experienced the shift that happens when we go from feeling angry and hurt to loving and peaceful.

Are we trying to learn forgiveness or do we simply reach a point where we now see there was nothing to forgive in the first place?

Is forgiveness so tough because the real feeling we’re after only comes once the realization strikes and there’s nothing to forgive??

Well all I do is imagine a kinder, wiser and more compassionate version of myself, sitting at the top of the Everest (imagine it to be a warmer place) in a rocking chair, sipping the finest of the wines. Watching myself hold onto sticky beliefs and making some big mistakes. Watching every one of us learning to love ourselves unconditionally—trying, failing, and eventually succeeding, as we move forward.

And I figure this wise wine-drinking self would conclude that everyone in their own unique way was doing their best to achieve things that they want for themselves. And when we think about it, if everyone is doing their best, what is to forgive, the obvious answer - doing your best?